Friday, October 29

It Could Be Me

This past week I was involved in a conversation where I was told the music we sing at church is not worshipful. And like all conversations I really try to walk away from them and ask the Lord WHAT He is wanting me to learn from conversations like these. It also has caused me to take a fresh look at the WORSHIP SONGS we sing at GRANITE because everything we do it is intended to bring glory to God. So first what did I learn from the conversation?
  • Our team must always, always, always, share WHY we do WHAT we do CONSTANTLY, because vision leaks and there are always new people who need to be brought up to speed. We must stop thinking that something said once is enough, IT ISN'T, especially when it concerns our worship services. We must CONSTANTLY be reinforcing the vision.
So that is one of the things I walked away with as a leader, so what about the songs we use during our worship services? Well there is a difference between the songs we use to build bridges and the songs we use to offer worship to God.

  • BRIDGE BUILDING SONGS - These songs are nothing more than modern day parables that we use to meet people where they are. I'm pretty sure there was nothing spiritual about sparrows when Jesus used them in one of His talks, but what a great illustration they turned out to be, Jesus said if God takes care of them, He is more than capable of taking care of us. Oh by the way, the religious crowd of Jesus' day HATED the way He spoke and taught, INTERESTING. These BRIDGE BUILDING SONGS are simply a way for us to establish common ground with people who do not understand CHRISTIANEZE in order to prepare them to hear the LIFE CHANGING message of Jesus Christ. If I'm not mistaken, there was this Jewish Rabbi named Jesus Christ who used the same approach. That's right God, clothed in human flesh used modern day stories and the language of His culture to prepare peoples hearts to hear His Fathers story. HHHMMMMM, if Jesus did it, I say it's a pretty good plan for GRANITE to follow.
  • WORSHIP SONGS - These are songs that are intended to OFFER TO GOD PRAISE. Songs sung to Him, not simply about Him. So are the songs that we are singing good worship songs? Well I read the lyrics and guess what they actually sing to and about the Lord, who would have thunk it! When your in church this weekend don't just follow along and sing, concentrate on the words of the songs, you will be amazed how awesome they are.
The truth is LIFE IS SHORT, ETERNITY IS LONG, and the STAKE ARE WAY TO HIGH for us to allow our church to have empty discussions about music. So I have some suggestions. If someone is looking for Choir music, traditional hymns packaged up in suites and ties then send them over to my good friend Danial at Marsh Corner Community Church, he is a great pastor with an amazing heart for God. If someone wants a church that is a praise and worship church send them to CROSSRAODS in Pelham, Matt Kyzer is a great pastor with an amazing church. If someone is looking for a church that is edger in their music approach then send them or encourage them to GRANITE.

What's the point? The point is within 15 minutes of our church are some great churches doing some great things, but doing them differently. We are called to be GRANITE, MARSH is called to be MARSH and CROSSROADS is called to be CROSSRAODS. Different strokes for different folks, different ministries philosophies to reach different people. All churches are necessary to reach all types of people. Different churches do not exist to compete with one another, the heart of God is that they would complete each other by reaching only those they can reach, while the other churches reach those they can reach.

I am proud of how our church has grown and I look forward to reaching NEW ENGLAND for Jesus. So to all the vision vandals out there, you need to know, THE DREAM OF JESUS IS NOT FOR SALE AT GRANITE. We are determined to do church for THE ONE who church is for and about, JESUS CHRIST.

And just one more thing before I close. I got to thinking just how selfish is it really for one or two or ever a dozen people to want to change what HUNDREDS of others enjoy worshiping to? Why is that your way is the right way? Why is it that if we don;t do things your way, you will walk away? Why is it that your commitment to the church is only as deep as the church meeting your needs? Here's a thought if hundreds of people are engaging in worship all around you, and your one of the few who aren't engaged in worship, maybe, just maybe it could be you that needs to change, hhhmmmmm.

To all my pastor brothers, lets never stop learning, leaders are learners, but lets not back down from God's dream and plan for His church over a few disgruntled voices.

PEACE!

Monday, October 25

GREAT EXPECTATIONS #2

So time to get back on track! So if it's true and I believe it is that God will grow GRANITE to the expectation level we have, let me ask you WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING? Is what you are expecting so HUGE that is demands that God show up? Or is what you're are dreaming...
  • SAFE
  • BORING
  • MORE OF THE SAME
Or is what you're dreaming
  • SCARY
  • INSPIRATIONAL
  • NUTS
For years people use to ask me why we had so much "staff" (mostly volunteer HHL's) like we do today. The answer always was and is, I believe we should staff ourselves for where we're going, not for where we are, so with your present team are you...
  • IN A POSITION TO DOUBLE YOUR MINISTRY SIZE
  • IN A POSITION TO UNLEASH ANOTHER CAMPUS
  • IN A POSITION TO WALK AWAY WITHOUT YOUR MINISTRY MISSING A BEAT
Let's Remember our ministry will not outgrow our vision. Our leadership structure will not outgrow our vision, our impact will not outgrow our vision. We are where we want to be, the question is, WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO? The question is WHERE ARE YOU TAKING YOUR MINISTRY?



Sunday, October 24

Pastor I Love You BUT...

Oh how I love conversations that start out like that because they always go down a road I don't like traveling. However I am not the only one that gets the Ole I love you BUT...Jesus Himself got that during His earthly ministry and He still gets it today Now trust me in NO WAY am I putting myself or any pastor on the same level as Jesus THAT WOULD JUST BE PLAIN STUPID, I think you would agree! I am however saying these conversations aren't new.

Jesus I love you, BUT I don't have time to serve you
Jesus I love you, BUT I can't trust you with my money
Jesus I love you, BUT I think I can handle this one on my own
Jesus I love you, BUT I sharing you is asking for a little too much
Jesus I love you, BUT Sunday is my day not Your day
Jesus I love you, BUT______________________________

It's nothing new even when Pilot said I find no fault in Him, the crowd cried back "we will not have this man rule over us". From the world to the "church" the conversation is all the same, and usually (not always) very selfish, self-centered, and focused on me, myself, and I. Now don't get me wrong, most of these conversations take place with good people who for some reason have found themselves in a bad place.

What pastors typically hear is something along the lines of PASTOR I LOVE YOU...

BUT the church isn't deep enough
BUT the church isn't meeting our needs
BUT all this church talks about is money
BUT the music's too loud
BUT the church is too big
BUT I'm not being fed
BUT we just want something different
BUT _________________________

What pastors don't hear are things like PASTOR I LOVE YOU...

BUT I just don't want to attend a maturity course
BUT I don't want to serve I want to be served
BUT I don't want to be a generous giver
BUT I want our church to be what I want it to be
BUT I don't want to feed myself
BUT I don't want to INVEST and INVITE the lost
BUT _______________________________

I know this won't be a popular post, BUT...

I'm thinking about a church planting friend who stepped out in faith to bring the life changing message of Jesus to a lot of people who have been saved, only to hear many on the launch team say, seeing lives forever changed isn't what we thought we were getting into, WE'RE LEAVING

I'm thinking about one of my boys who is a senior pastor (I have a number of them out there) who's church voted him in to lead, but the church didn't want him to lead, they wanted him to follow, so people are being "LED" TO LEAVE

I'm thinking of a friend of mine who pastors a church that is arguing over things that aren't even biblical while the people living right outside their church doors are dying and going to hell because their leaders won't follow their pastor, the man chosen by God to lead, so many are being "LED" TO LEAVE

I am thinking of myself and our Pastoral team. After an amazing weekend of seeing about a dozen people surrender to Jesus for salvation, after being pulled aside and hearing the story of a womans sister coming to Jesus in church after years of prayer, after being pulled aside by a person who was saved today who was so broken we never were able to talk because of her tears, after watching HUNDREDS of people take the garbage out, and spending time a sweet time around the Lord's Table, and after receiving some pastor appreciation cards, I got the OLE' Pastor I love you BUT...

To all the I love you pastor, BUT PEOPLE, I want to say this on behalf of all of us pastors, we love you, BUT...

  1. Life is short and eternity is too long, we will refuse to do church for you, we are committed to doing church for the glory of Jesus Christ
  2. People really do die and those close to us and far from God will remain our mission, and we think you will be very happy it did, when you stand before God as one of His kids
  3. We understand it takes all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people, and it makes us sad if you're not happy but if our church isn't for you find one that is
  4. God calls one man on His behalf to lead His church, our responsibility is to lead, so we will lead without apology
  5. We have made a promise to church planters and missionaries and we refuse to walk away from that commitment for convenience sake
  6. We have a responsibility to our children to show them Jesus is worth giving our all for
  7. But are called to take up our crosses and to follow Jesus, not you
Make no mistake it hurts and it stinks when a pastor hears that a person/family is "LED" TO LEAVE the church, especially if there were years of investing in that person/family that has taken place. HOWEVER, we are committed to giving our all to THE ONE who has given His all for us. And you can talk, and you can walk, but we ready to lay down, to lay down our lives for the Dream of Jesus Christ! It's not easy but it is worth it and we will not give up!

So how do you respond to a post like this, I'm not really sure, but I do have a one thought, maybe we can help people changes their BUTTS to ANDS. Pastor I love you...

AND I am fully behind you - (Don't take for granted he knows that)
AND you can call me anytime for any reason for anything - (pastors need team players)
AND I have your back - (A threefold cord is not quickly broken)
AND I'm all in for the Dream of Jesus - (Actions speak louder than words)
AND I love your family - (Pastor/Husband/Father/Friend/Son/Brother/etc.)
AND I want to honor you by...
AND I realize you have feelings, so how are you doing
AND I will protect, encourage, prayer, you as God's man
AND ________________________________________

You might read this post and wonder if I am discouraged, let me answer that for you, NO WAY- NOT A LITTLE BIT, Jesus is doing to many great things in our church and I will not give the devil or any person that much leverage to tear down what God is building up. What's the key for me? Believing with all my heart that GRANITE is on the right track, heading in the right direction, committed to seeing NEW ENGLAND KNOW JESUS! It's not easy but who said it would be!

To all my pastor friends, I love you keep on keeping on! Jesus is worth it, your family is worth it, your community is worth it, eternity is worth it! Don't you give up, don't you walk away, don't you get mad, don't you throw in the towel, JESUS is worth our best during the good, bad and the ugly!

To all of our church families at GRANITE and around the country who said this month, Pastor I love you...

AND here are some movie tickets, THANK YOU
AND here is a card of love and appreciation - THANK YOU
AND here is some cash, take your wife out - THANK YOU
AND here is a shout out on FACEBOOK - THANK YOU
AND ____________________________________

Thank you, thank you, thank you! You make serving Jesus in our churches a JOY and together we are making a difference!








Thursday, October 21

GREAT EXPECTATION


Question - The DREAM YOUR DREAMING right now, that vision that you have in your heart right now, HOW BIG IS IT? Is it manageable? Is it attainable? Is it SAFE? Team we are called to GO BIG or GO HOME when its comes to the DREAM OF JESUS, so we need to begin asking ourselves some questions. So My question is, HOW BIG IS IT, the dream , thats in your heart for what God has called you too. When you think about it, is it...
  • making your heart race a little faster
  • getting your pulse pumping and popping
  • taking your breathe away
  • keeping you up at night
  • forcing you on your knees before FATHER
  • WORTH GIVING YOUR LIFE TOO
  • WORTH ASKING OTHERS TO GIVE THEIR LIVES TOO
Our church, your ministry, is doing exactly what you EXPECT IT TO BE DOING. So do you...
  • Need to REFOCUS
  • Need to FEFUEL
  • Need to RELAUNCH
  • Need to RETHINK
  • Need to REDO
  • Need to RETRAIN
  • Need to RECAST
  • Need to REEVALUATE

Team GRANITE UNITED its time to put this baby into another gear. So consider the questions, because HERE WE GO AGAIN! I love what we get to do for Jesus, what a blast!!!!!!